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Sr. Content Project Manager | National Geographic Learning

At Cengage, we are harnessing the power of tech to build a future where all learners have the tools and confidence to achieve their goals. As a Cengage employee, you will blaze a new trail to transform the way people learn. Collaborating with the best of the best, you will feel challenged and inspired to do breakthrough work. With the support of our united team, there is no limit to what you can envision, create, and set in motion.

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We set the bar higher by bringing our unique talents and point of view to the table every day. We are curious and comfortable with change and are willing to try new things to transform education. Most importantly, with everything we do, we put learning first.

Summary: As a member of the National Geographic Learning organization of the Cengage Group, this position is responsible for successfully managing the production (planning, implementation, and delivery) of a variety of projects, including complex and/or high profile projects, in support of Cengage Learning’s publishing program.

Position Description:  The Sr. Content Project Manager (CPM) is responsible for independently managing the production of a variety of projects including complex and/or high profile projects on schedule, adhering to internal customer and market specifications/requirements, meeting quality assurance, and budget to achieve financial targets. Also provides support to Production Management. Builds and maintains effective, collaborative relationships with Editorial, Marketing, Digital Production, Digital Content Experience, Quality Assurance, Permissions, Media Research, Content Workflow & Tools (CWT), Operations, and Manufacturing teams and vendors to ensure project objectives are met. Manages vendors through/by competitive bidding, monitoring workloads, and successful communication; escalates issues appropriately. Acts as a mentor to junior staff. Provides feedback to management of less experienced staff.   

Essential Duties/Responsibilities:

Production Planning

  • Vendor Management: Assign appropriate vendor(s) in collaboration with Production management based on scope of project complexity and budget requirements. Effectively manages vendors, and collaborates with stakeholders to meet batching, workflow, schedule, quality, ability, and cost requirements. May participate in the bid creation process including creating bid or scales documents, scheduling bid meetings, awarding work, and providing information for creation and execution of contracts.
  • Focus on Results: Creates detailed production schedules with attention to component dependencies and needs for various delivery formats (state versions, technology, etc.). Maintains focus on end-goal, while solving problems and removing potential blockers throughout project timeline.
  • Process Management: Participates in creation and enforcement of program guidelines in collaboration with Production management and CWT/Design (including production specs, projects systems, subject line protocol, Project file folder structure) and suggests updates to best practices and standards as needed. Facilitates production launches.
  • Financial tracking: Accountable for managing aspects of project budget, including projection of project complexity and cost estimating, tracking, and reporting.

Product Development

  • Risk Management: Identifies, assesses and manages potential risks to projects and interdependencies, including related marketing and technology deliverables. Recommends possible solutions and leads implementation of resolution.
  • Soft Skills: Works effectively with vendors and internal stakeholders across functional departments (including senior leadership, as needed) to achieve production goals, implement appropriate workflows, and regularly communicate schedule, quality and budget updates. Facilitates component status meetings. Responsible for building strong interpersonal networks.
  • Quality control: Ensures adherence to quality standards, both internally and externally, by spot-checking project development against specs and by reconciling requested changes.
  • Change Control: Leads or participates in on-going negotiation of project scope changes, including assessment of the impact to budget and schedule. Maintains vendor contact throughout project development. Works with Vendors to reconciles final invoices.
  • Communication: Keeps project group informed of any updates to project details, scope, or schedule.
  • Data Integrity: Ensures that all Production information is kept current in IPS (Integrated Publishing System; a proprietary database used to track the production and manufacturing of print and digital products).
  • Status reporting: Ensures Production Management is informed of project status, issues and/or concerns. Reports updates and risks to Production Management, as well as stakeholders and project team.

Post Production

  • Organizes information and coordinates with Content Workflow & Tools for end-of-project activities (archiving, NIMAS, server clean-up, etc).
  • Requests and reviews reconciliation documentation from vendor against budget projections, requests and codes invoices.

Other Essential Responsibilities

  • Ensures that new or existing processes and approved standards are implemented within assigned projects.
  • Champions and may lead the implementation of process efficiencies for quality assurance. Ensures integrity and quality of data delivered through application of appropriate in-house tools/external resources.
  • Participates in and/or leads cross-functional project meetings.
  • Acts as a resource and mentor, providing input and training.  May review staff work and provide feedback to team and manager.  Participates in developing training materials as needed.
  • Provides regular feedback on vendor performance to management.
  • Perform additional responsibilities as needed to achieve company goals.



Experience and Training:

  • BA/BS or equivalent work experience.
  • Minimum of 5 years relevant experience in print and/or media production, which may include but is not limited to scheduling, copyediting, proofreading, composition, prepress, design, and permissions.
  • Minimum 3 years project management experience; able to successfully manage, organize, prioritize, and handle multiple projects and tasks including complex interdependencies between projects.
  • Experience with formal project management software and/or techniques.
  • Familiar with financial models; demonstrates ability to accurately analyze financial data and create recommendations as relevant to production activities.
  • Working knowledge of contracts, forms and agreements; ability to manage negotiations.
  • Demonstrated experience managing change and dealing with ambiguity.
  • Demonstrated ability to provide training and constructive feedback to less experienced staff.
  • Demonstrated experience working effectively in a team environment and to direct outside vendors and freelancers.
  • Advanced knowledge and use of Adobe Acrobat and Microsoft applications, including spreadsheet, database and word processing skills.

Soft Skills:

  • Able to clearly communicate in a variety of styles and settings; with the ability to interpret and translate information to teams and individuals and to report effectively to management.
  • Ability to work collaboratively, provide feedback in a constructive manner and relate product requirements succinctly and effectively.

Practical Skills:

  • Proven problem-solving and critical-thinking skills; able to predict, identify, and independently resolve issues in a timely and effective manner.
  • Ability to anticipate, adopt and implement new processes, procedures, and standards in an environment of continuous improvement and innovation.
  • Strong attention to detail.


  • Previous experience working in publishing industry or related field.
  • Knowledge of publishing industry, or educational technology and familiarity with Cengage Learning products.
  • Knowledge of current digital prepress and publishing technologies and publishing software such as Adobe Creative Suite, Dropbox, JIRA, Workfront, and Content Authoring Tools.
  • Knowledge of database creation and functionality, typecoding, and XML tagging.